Hearing Jenny Marie of Konradsen whisper the lines, “who am I to judge another lie from you?/kings don’t feel anything, to be fair” at this moment in our shared universe seems all at once like a brilliant level of shade being thrown and a sad manifesto of our life and times. Konradsen has succeeded in creating one of the most elegant pieces of music that’s been released so far in this young year and is making me yearn for the piano sitting across the room from me right now.
As we enter the third year of no hope, there are small glimmers of pure light that will help guide us towards a better version of ourselves. The longer we push blaming outcomes onto others and refuse to look in our own mirrors, the longer the struggle for everyone to be taken seriously and equally will take. Lauren Spear’s stark confessionals are the most positive step a human can take towards real, actual growth.
There are twin beams of relaxed light streaming into my kitchen this afternoon that are creating a perfect intersection of warmth and happiness. I quickly discovered that I never want to leave this spot, not even for all the candy bars in the world. It’s this environment that I was basking in as I was introduced to the new solo single from Mountain Man’s Molly Sarlé and it could not have fit this moment in time any more perfectly. It took Ms. Sarlé less than four minutes to provide the soundtrack to the entire rest of my year. “Human” is much more than a sheer delight to listen to, it’s a study on the nature of those around you and how their manifestation rubs off on you, sending you down pathways and bypasses that you’ll never see coming.
I’m not going to start off this new year with something that’s freshly released just for the sake of getting something up here that’s as yet untouched and unspoiled by the critic sages of the internet. A new year needs something cathartic that wakes you up, splashes a bucket of water on your face and runs away laughing. “A Flower In A Glove” was released nine years ago this coming April and in that span of time, my fervent adoration of this now, sadly, defunct project and it’s fearless leader, Carey Mercer, has only deepened. As I am writing this, time is already eking away quickly towards the start of the second day of 2019 and all the fancy thoughts and words that spent the entire day swarming in my head thinking about this song have pulled up stakes and abandoned me. This song is the beginning of my year. This song is my anthem for the next 365 days. This song should wreck you every time you allow it to pass through your ears.
The words should arrive like fire when you decide to let them out. They should hurt as they spill out and leave you with a combined sense of ecstasy and dread. Just spit them all out onto the page or the screen and don’t look back. Leave them there for a sense of posterity. Don’t look backwards and self-edit. Don’t erase your history. I’ve had zero chances in the past week to sit and do anything that didn’t involve corralling a family horde that all wanted to travel in different directions. I’ve taken in three thousand different senses and wanted to shout twice as many thoughts, but I sadly remained silent and broke my own promise to write, write, write no matter what.
I returned to the somewhat more normal world early this morning and discovered a record entitled K7 that was released in France back on Valentine’s Day in 2017. After hearing the opening track, I promptly absorbed the entire record seven times over the course of the day. The three women that make up Tôle Froide create songs that absolutely fucking bask in their own anxious impatience and urgency. It’s true, these are not meticulously well-crafted recordings, but the music owes everything to that “get it on the fucking tape and get it into people’s ears” attitude. This is music that doesn’t just breathe, it seethes. I hate myself a little for not having this record by my side through all of 2017, but now that it’s here, it will accompany me through life permanently.
For some unknown reason, I am inherently skeptical of cover songs, especially when they involve a personal hero of mine. Maybe this stems from the handful of times that I’ve heard people cover music that I’ve written and felt like running from the room screaming or maybe there’s some deep-seated emotional issue inside of me that’s tangled up in the belief that the soul of a piece of music can only exist with it’s originator(s). Probably both of those scenarios are true and both are also probably completely untrue. Whatever the case may be, I wandered into DM Stith’s reimagining of Jason Molina’s “Get Out Get Out Get Out” with trepidation and left my first listen of it with a feeling of warmth and ecstatic graciousness at his absolutely beautiful rendition. It’s a more than fitting ode to the man behind the song and a gorgeous tribute to DM Stith’s own late grandfather whose trumpet fills the glorious cracks and spaces of the song.
A minute and a half into the over the top and yet somehow brilliantly understated video for Malibu Ken’s “Corn Maze”, the cartoon heroine turns to the camera mid-chase to pointedly ask: “Why am I still running?” On it’s own, this second track from this new collaboration between Aesop Rock and TOBACCO is straight up golden, but paired with the visuals that Rob Shaw has created, it transforms into a miniature opera that wrestles with something far deeper and less easy to explain.
Mornings arrive with a long drawl of a faint buzz that’s stretches for miles before an auspicious click in the head jumpstarts the hours you choose to remain awake. The entire day can feel like its spent very carefully rotating an old manual radio dial in hopes of tuning in to the proper frequency that keeps you aware of your surroundings and able to participate actively in whatever confronts you. These old knobs gather microscopic bits of dust inside hidden cracks crevices that work their dirty magic into every scrap of sound that releases from the pulsing speaker. Even when you think you are tuned in, you never truly are. You’re always one step away from the light.
I’m witness to a never-ending barrage of narcissistic missives that are sent from sedentary couches demanding immediate answers and decisive action, so when I hear Emma Proulx of Men I Trust whisper, “waiting for the world to bend around you,” it grabs me by the neck and shakes me around violently before letting me settle back in to the remainder of the easy, wobbly groove that drives “Say, Can You Hear”. This is an upsetting, but absolutely necessary reaction to a song that musically seems built to cater to the most chill moments of your day. There is a demon hidden in these lyrics that will pounce on you.
will be self-released on February 15, 2019
Video directed by: Men I Trust